Big, burly, and road presence by the bucket load. That’s the Toyota Fortuner for you. No wonder it sells so well, because in a market like India, no matter the gender, caste or ethnicity of the buyer, when it comes to SUVs, we all want what Mrs Kakkar from ‘Main Hoon Na’ wanted in her men – Macho-ness. That’s macho for those who aren’t fans of Bollywood.
So, if you are interested in this Macho-SUV, here are five things that work for it, and two that don’t.
All that visual presence on the outside does translate into good passenger space on the inside. The Fortuner can seat seven, and six in good comfort. The middle passenger in the second row has it a little difficult with the central armrest and limited headroom, but for the rest, there’s enough head, shoulder and legroom.
Just like the Toyota Innova, the Fortuner too has a decent array of features. There’s the multi-functional steering wheel that adjusts for rake-and-reach. Then there’s a detailed driver information system. You also get touchscreen multimedia system, though without apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s a single-zone climate control system with rear ac vents. And there’s an electric adjustment for the driver’s seat.
Mile Munching Ability
Another plus for the Fortuner is its ability to effortlessly munch miles. And a car must have three main attributes to do that - comfortable seating, good visibility and torque. The Fortuner has them all in decent measure. It offers the driver a high seating position, and with it, good visibility of what’s up front. And the large outside rear-view mirrors help too. It has comfy seats that are large and supportive. It could, however, have done with a bit more cushioning which would have made the long journeys even more comfortable.
Then there’s the torque; 450Nm of it. There’s a bit of delay every time you get on the throttle, but switching to power mode makes the throttle more alert. And the Fortuner just picks up its skirt and charges to the horizon with a vengeance.
The Fortuner comes with a 2.8-litre, four-cylinder diesel. It makes 175bhp and 450Nm of torque. And though the SUV weighs close to two-tonnes, the engine does a good job of masking all that bulk. It doesn’t feel slow. Leave it in Eco mode and the progress is quite seamless. It isn’t lively, but it is the recommended mode when hauling family. For sportier driving, there’s always the Power mode.
The automatic Sigma 4x4 we have here is as capable as a luxury SUV can get, especially off the road. The Fortuner has the ground clearance, it has a good approach and departure angles, and it has a capable 4x4 system which overcomes the limitations of the road-spec tyres even on the most slippery surfaces. This is one SUV you can take to places you never thought possible.
The Fortuner uses more traditional hardware and comes with 2-high, 4-high and 4-low. The latter has 50:50 torque distribution front and rear. The Fortuner gets something called A-Trac or active traction control. The system, instead of sending variable torque to wheels with maximum traction, applies the brake on the wheel without traction. The result is the wheels get maximum grip and all the torque. And since A-Trac is ABS based, it is cost-effective too.
Well, it is a Toyota. And like the Innova, the Fortuner too has the reputation of going on and on. So, even though one does have to spend through their noses to buy the Fortuner, the ownership and resale experience is so good, no one minds it!
Yes, being a ladder-on-frame SUV does mean there will be some amount of jiggle, more so at slower speeds. But, the Fortuner jiggles over almost everything; hops about over sharpish bumps, and it thuds through potholes instead of rounding them off. But, the side-to-side movement, thankfully, isn’t as pronounced.
The Fortuner is a big, burly SUV. And it feels like that when it comes to driving dynamics. It has slow steering which is also devoid of feedback. Then around corners, it just loves to roll, which makes cornering in the Fortuner slightly vague and totally uninvolving. Brake hard, and the nose dive is quite obvious. Ditto when you accelerate as it loves to squat before taking off. Needless to say, quick direction changes, are no fun in this SUV.
Okay, the Fortuner isn’t the most inspiring SUV to drive around corners. And, though it can smother almost everything in its path, it doesn’t do as good a job of isolating its occupants as it should.
But, it looks imposing. And it has the Toyota badge on its nose. What’s more, it is spacious, it has comfy insides, and it loves to cover miles if the roads don’t involve a lot of twists and turns. And, then when the roads run out, you enter the Fortuner’s playing ground.